Whether you’ve got 2 minutes or two hours to spare, getting a jump on meal prep can take some of the stress out of weekday cooking. Even simple tasks, such as washing and storing a head of lettuce or cutting a melon to stash in the fridge goes a long way towards making healthier choices when you’re hungry. There are no hard and fast rules as to when it’s best to meal prep. For some, dedicating time on a Sunday afternoon is ideal. Others like to squeeze it in during the week when they’re in the kitchen making breakfast or dinner anyway. Regardless, below you’ll find 20 healthy meal prep ideas to tackle in advance and make mealtime just a little bit easier.

20 Healthy Meal Prep Ideas

  1. Hard boil half a dozen eggs (for snacks, egg salad, or to slice onto salads).

  2. Make a batch of hummus, guacamole or other healthy dip.

  3. Cook a pot of applesauce (keep the peels on for less work and more fiber).

  4. Make a simple vinaigrette (use a jar to shake it up, which can double as a storage vessel).

  5. Wash and dry salad greens.

  6. Wash and dry kale or other leafy greens.

  7. Chop an onion or two (can be stored in fridge or freezer).

  8. Cut up a variety of crunchy vegetable crudite for lunch boxes and snacks.

  9. Cut a melon or pineapple and store in the fridge.

  10. Fill a sheet pan with cut up vegetables, toss with olive oil and salt, roast at 425 until tender.

  11. Make a double batch of meatballs. Store half in the freezer.

  12. Cut a head of broccoli or cauliflower into florets so it’s ready to steam, saute, or roast.

  13. Roast a couple of chickens: one for dinner that night, the second for lunches.

  14. Make a big pot of soup. Serve leftovers for lunches and store any extra in the freezer.

  15. Prepare a cup or a few cups of brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa or other grains.

  16. Cook a pot of beans (the slow cooker and Instant Pot are great tools for this).

  17. Bake a batch of granola or muesli.

  18. Bake a batch of whole-grain banana bread or blueberry muffins.

  19. Assemble grab-and-go bags of trail mix.

  20. Make cookie dough and store in the freezer.

What are some of your favorite ways to meal prep?

Need more meal prep inspiration? Check out the Meal Prep cookbooks by registered dietitian Toby Amidor, including her most recent, Smart Meal Prep for Beginners.